Transformation: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 22 November 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is TRANSFORMATION.

There are many ways self could choose to interpret that challenge. She could show nature and the changing seasons. She could show people in the process of transforming (costumes, aging, and so forth).

For now, she chooses to focus on the transformation of physical space. The first picture is London’s Chinatown in late October. The second is the Blue Room in Paradiso in Cork.

In the first picture, the Chinese lanterns add a whole different aspect to the street.

In the second, it’s the shadows cast by a floor lamp that transform a simple room into a place of mystery.

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Chinatown, London: Last Week of October 2017

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Paradiso, Cork: Early November, 2017

Other interpretations:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: “Trenarren, Autumn 1941”

An excerpt from Trenarren, Autumn 1941

by A. L. Rowse

The thunder-green sea
Brings nearer the Island
On which stood the chapel
Of Michael the Archangel.

Smoke from a chimney
In the V-shaped valley,
The voices of children,
A robin on the bough:

Familiar and cheerful
Domestic noises
Speak of contentment
About me now.

But what is to come?
I ask myself, waiting
In this burial-place
Of my ancient people.


from A. L. Rowse’s collection Poems, Chiefly Cornish (London: Faber and Faber), dedicated to Edward Sackville West, “in our common passion for Cornwall”

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 2 Ms Anywhere In the Word

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges are really that: Fun.

Her series, Alphabet With a Twist, is now on the Letter M: To complicate things, you have to have 2 Ms, anywhere in the word.

It took self some assiduous looking, but she finally came up with these two pictures of the Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, from her most recent visit to London, a few weeks ago:

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The Prince Albert Memorial on a Beautiful Day in Hyde Park, London, Late October 2017

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Closer View of The Prince Albert Memorial

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

ANEURYSM: DO NO HARM, Chapter 2

It is really interesting reading the Goodreads reviews of Do No Harm, as many of the reviewers seem to either: a) know the author personally, or know someone he has treated, or b) suffer from a malady mentioned in the book.

Self engaged in the discussion yesterday: someone summarized each chapter, thereby indirectly dropping spoilers. So self recommended putting a SPOILER ALERT over her review, as right now she is in the chapter called Aneurysm, and until reading the review she was completely on pins and needles.

And now self needs to add:

SPOILER ALERT

The chapter has the pacing of the very best thrillers. The protagonists are a neurosurgeon (the author) vs. a patient’s brain.

The brain acquiesces quite easily, but the fault lies in the first aneurysm clip (six-millimetre, titanium) which won’t open. The assistant tries first, but fumbles, so after a few seconds the author has to take over. This time, the clip does open, but the applicator can’t seem to release the clip.

Of all the — ! This patient (a 32-year-old wife and mother) has to have the worst luck in the world! The author has to sit there holding the clip and cursing, worried that if he moves his hand, the aneurysm will tear off the cerebral artery and cause a catastrophic hemorrhage in the patient’s brain (It’s at this point where self can’t stop thinking of the Jeremy Renner character in The Hurt Locker, when he finds an IED but discovers to his horror that it’s one of those butterfly ones, six little bombs in a circle, and he’s standing right in the middle)

He realizes he has no choice but to remove the clip he has just so painstakingly positioned, and find a third clip.

As the doctor removes the second clip, “the aneurysm suddenly swells and springs back into life, filling instantly with arterial blood. I feel it is laughing at me . . . ”

The author shouts, “That’s never happened before!” which is a completely futile statement, in self’s humble opinion. Because literally nothing has ever happened before.

So what does the author do? He throws the offending clip, just flings it across the room.

Gawd, if self was the patient, and she was watching this go down (Thank God for anesthesia) she might very well change her mind about the operation and say: Let me out of here!

(And if this were an American hospital, wouldn’t the doctor be afraid of writing about this incident? America being such a litigious society, after all. But this is England, self is reminded. And England is not as litigious.)

Here’s the rub: “The faulty ones, for some strange reason, turned out to have stiff hinges.” (p. 30)

Self has a feeling the story turns out well; it wouldn’t be in the book otherwise. It simply wouldn’t.

Stay tuned.

More Peeks: Bury Street, Before the Shops Open

Bury Street is where the London Review Bookshop is. It’s a fabulous street, not just because of the Bookshop, and the Cake Shop next to it, but because of other small shops, all along its length.

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Joan McGavin introduced me to this specialty bookshop and press, last year.

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Such good pastries! Went here with Sue on Monday, to celebrate the Mueller indictments.

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Bury Street, off Great Russell, Before the Shops Open: 2 November 2017

PEEK: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 November 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is PEEK. Self thinks these pictures, from her current trip to London, do fit the bill:

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Sky over Bloomsbury: Today, 1 November 2017

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The Gielgud on Shaftesbury, where self saw “The Ferryman” on Monday, 30 October 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Observer on Kenneth MacMillan’s Last Work, The Judas Tree

In June, self was soooo lucky: she got to watch the ballet Mayerling at the Royal Opera House, and loved it. She wasn’t feeling well (just like now; something about London, trying to do too much) and nearly went home after the first intermission. Then, while standing at the refreshments bar, she met an American woman who lives in New York and who gets annual subscriptions to the New York City Ballet. This woman flies to London to watch ballet, that is how big a deal it was for her. Upon finding out that self was planning to leave early, the woman said: “You can’t leave early. The pas de deux (or was it the gran jetés) in Act III are spectacular.” So self stayed. And she did get to watch that spectacular Act III.

This is a very, very long introduction to a review of Kenneth MacMillan’s final work, The Judas Tree, which is about gang rape. Gulp?

Anyhoo, the protagonists are a gang of construction workers at the Canary Wharf Tower. In the foreground, an East London construction site.

Several men enter. We understand them to be builders, although their muscle-mag appearance and narcissistic attitudes make them an unlikely labour force.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More Rounded: Scythians at the British Museum and a Cake Decorated With Chocolate Flowers

So many grrreat examples of ROUNDED, everywhere self looks.

First, this from the Scythian Exhibit at the British Museum (The special exhibit is 16.50 GBP, but the rest of the museum is free. This beauty is just standing in the lobby, next to a concession stand):

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The Scythians, self learned from the exhibit, were nomads who roamed the wild Russian steppes. Everything of value to them was either made of fur or minted of gold. There are the most intricate golden belt buckles, as well as gold appliqués on thick fur coats.

Moving on:

Last night, self watched a play at The Gielgud: The Ferryman. The play was three hours and 15 minutes, one proper intermission, and a three-minute break to allow the audience to get up and stretch. During the first intermission, they sold Haagen Dasz caramel salt ice cream bars in the stalls (3 GBP)

Searing. The women actors were amazing. As was a live baby, who got onstage to get a diaper change and whose part was very nicely done (Baby never cried)

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Display Window, Caffé Concerto, Across from the Gielgud on Shaftesbury Ave.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROUNDED: London in the Fall

London is beautiful at any time of year, but this is self’s first time to visit it in the Fall. She had some misgivings, but all of that were thrown out the window when she saw the lovely weather, and the familiar old buildings, and the fewer crowds.

So here, in honor of her first full day in London, three pictures of where she spent the day:

The Science Museum

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The Serpentine Pavilion 2017, by Francis Kéré, in Hyde Park

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The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Hyde Park

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Observer, Sunday, 29 October 2017

3-Page Special on US Politics in Today’s London Observer :

  • We must stop pretending the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal . . .  Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.

— Jeff Flake, Republican Senator from Arizona, who is not seeking re-election

  • (Flake) is one of my most detested politicians . . .  Of the 14 Republicans who voted for (an amnesty on illegal immigration), five are gone.

— Ann Coulter, rightwing political commentator

Self was surprised that The Observer gave such prominent place to US politics. Because isn’t England going through some pretty weighty upheavals of its own? She’s grateful, though, for this chance to see America through a different lens. She thought about this article all through dinner.

Coulter exults that five of the Republicans who voted against amnesty on illegal immigration “are gone.” Subtext is that she’d be very glad to see the remaining nine “gone” too, payback for speaking out against the President. Like, being “gone” is proof that they are, to borrow a lame term from 45, losers.

Wait, why is The Observer quoting Coulters? Self never heard the name Ann Coulters on TV or in the newspapers, for almost a year. She isn’t that famous.

You know who’s famous? Ivanka Trump. Because Colbert makes fun of her.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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